Non-native, exotic, alien, introduced—no matter what you choose to call them, non-native species are plants, animals, and other organisms that are outside their natural range. While some non-native species are desirable and even beneficial, such as garden crops, other non-native species are invasive and cause significant damage to BC’s environment, people, and economy.
So, let’s be clear—what are invasive species? They are plants, animals, and other organisms that are not native to BC, or are found outside areas where they naturally occur, AND that cause negative social, cultural, economic, and environmental impacts. We will be exploring these impacts in detail throughout the course.
In their native environments, these organisms typically have limiting factors such as predators, diseases, and competitors that co-evolved with them, which keep these species in check. When these species are transported to a new environment, these limiting factors are usually left behind, allowing the transported species to spread and dominate with nothing to keep them in check. Invasive species have abilities such as rapid reproduction and tolerance of a wide range of environmental conditions that allow them to outcompete native species for resources such as food, light, and water, enabling them to take areas over.
An invasive plant may also be called a weed, a loosely defined term that typically refers to any plant that is undesirable or growing somewhere it is not wanted. In BC, legislation defines the term “noxious weeds” as the invasive plants specifically listed in the BC Weed Control Act Regulation. More fun and interesting facts about legislation will come later in this training!
Continue with Lesson A